December 06, 2019

We all love fruit – but are there rules for what you should use on your skin?

Fruits are extremely popular as skin care ingredients due to their concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We all know that citrus can give us a healthy glow, and that berries deliver a wealth of protective antioxidants to the skin. As such, fruits are available in all sorts of products; some companies even base entire products around the benefits of a specific fruit!

In order to stay healthy inside and out, it’s important that we include fruits into our diet, and sometimes even our skin care regimen. But are all fruits good for skin? Are there fruits that don’t belong in your stomach or on your face?

We’ll tell you all about the benefits of fruit, plus what’s safe and what isn’t – all as part of our effort in empowering you to know exactly what you’re putting in and on your body.


How Fruit Makes Us Glow

We all know that fruits are considered an essential part of our diet, simply for their nutritional benefits. But did you know that these healthy snacks have vitamins and antioxidants that can be applied directly to the skin for a more concentrated effect?

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports this theory, having documented over 4,000 women between the ages of 40 and 70. It was found that a diet rich in vitamin-C foods like citrus fruits was key in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging. That means berries, citrus, and melons can be used to brighten one’s skin tone and texture.

However, there are a lot of different kinds of fruit, and they all grow differently – so how can you know which ones are good for your skin? For example, many are adversely affected by chemical pesticides. While some fruits are not considerably altered by pesticides, there are twelve fruits and vegetables that, if possible, should only be eaten organic. This list is known as the Dirty Dozen.

Orchard pesticide

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen refers to a list of the top twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue. These residues often contained traces of dacthal, which has been found by the EPA to potentially cause cancer in humans. Another contamination risk comes from diphenylamine, which the EU has banned for similar concerns.

No matter how you slice it – whether you eat it or apply it to your skin – pesticides are potentially dangerous to our health. Moreover, pesticides in cosmetics have also been an issue, as your skin will absorb any toxins found in your makeup and skin care routine. And whatever our skin absorbs has a high chance of finding its way into the bloodstream and into our delicate internal systems.

Whenever possible, it’s best to only eat fruits and veggies of the Dirty Dozen if they’re organic. Even if your skin care lists any of these, make sure that you see the word “organic” pop up in the ingredients. This is why we make a big deal of making our own skin care products as organic as possible!

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale

  4. Nectarines

  5. Apples

  6. Grapes

  1. Peaches

  2. Cherries

  3. Pears

  4. Tomatoes

  5. Celery

  6. Potatoes


Acidic Fruits on Skin

While acidic foods like tomatoes, kiwi, citrus, and papaya are often packed with vitamins, too much of their high acidity levels can disrupt your pH balance and damage your skin. That being said, these high-acid fruits should be used sparingly on your skin:

  • lemon juice (pH: 2.00–2.60)

  • limes (pH: 2.00–2.80

  • pomegranates (pH: 2.93–3.20)

  • grapefruits (pH: 3.00–3.75)

  • blueberries (pH: 3.12–3.33)

  • pineapples (pH: 3.20–4.00)

  • oranges (pH: 3.69–4.34)

If you use skin care with these ingredients, don’t fret just yet. The closer to raw the ingredient is (or if it’s in the form of an essential oil), chances are it’s more concentrated/potent. If it’s in a powder form or listed lower (rather than higher) on the ingredient list, chances are it’s far safer for use on the skin.

PRO TIP: Citrus oils or exfoliating fruit extracts like kiwi, papaya, or bromelain should be used at night, unless featured in a rinse-away product that won’t sit on the skin. Bergapten-free bergamot is an exception for daytime use, since the active photoaging element is removed during its steam distillation process.

Organic Skin Care Vs. Organic Diet

When it comes to fruits that are good for our skin, it’s sometimes debated over what’s more important: what we absorb through our skin, versus what we eat.

Topical products certainly count, considering that 60% of what you put on your body is absorbed within 8 hours. While this is a good thing in the case of products full of organic fruit, it says the opposite for not only pesticides, but other harmful chemicals.

For instance, phthalates and parabens are dangerous for the skin because of the way they alter hormone balances. What’s even worse is that your liver has to process all of these chemicals to keep your body healthy, and long-term exposure can cause serious damage.

However, while a vitamin-rich skin care regimen is certainly beneficial, vitamins found in skin care products are always secondary to what’s being obtained through your diet. The foods we ingest have a direct course through our internal systems, which are much more vulnerable than the skin. It’s important to eat organic foods, since pesticides found in your food may also have hormone-disrupting effects.

That being said, definitely make sure you’re balancing your beauty regimen and diet. You should certainly make sure your skin care products are high quality and made with organic, plant-based ingredients, but don’t expect them to do the job of eating healthy.

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